An empty covered passageway dominates this image. In the foreground are three young saplings. At the far end of the passageway a man can be seen sitting in the sunlight alongside the edge of the canal. On either side of the passageway in the foreground are windows and indications of cornices, etc. of the architecture.
Otto Henry Bacher saw Whistler working on this plate, one of the earliest Whistler drew in Venice. Whister was dissatisfied with the progress of the plate and began the composition again on another copper plate; it is the second plate that was included in the "First Venice Set." Because this plate was abandoned in Venice, proofs taken from the plate are very scarce. As with the second plate of "Traghetto, No. 2", the site is identified as the courtyard of the C'da Mosto, north of the Rialto bridge.
A dark passageway dominates the middle and left portions of the composition; to the right is a group of men seated outside at a table. The passageway has a view at the far end of a man seated while a gondola passes by. In front of the passageway re three young trees, the leaves of which fall in front of the passageway. To the left of the passageway is a child holding a baby. On either side of the passageway are windows that indicate the walls that fill the plate.
Otto Henry Bacher saw Whistler working on the "Traghetto, No. 1", one of the earliest Whistler drew in Venice. Whister was dissatisfied with the progress of the plate and began the composition again on another copper plate; it is this second plate that was included in the "First Venice Set." The Glasgow catalogue raisonné identifies the site as the courtyard of the C'da Mosto, north of the Rialto bridge.
A deep covered passageway dominates the composition. At the near end of the passage, to the right side stand a woman and young girl, both with heads covered and looking at the viewer. Looking down the passageway, light catches the timbered ceiling and figures can be seen walking at the far end, silhouetted against the bright light in the square or street beyond. A lantern hangs above the entrance at the near end of the passage.
Whistler was enchanted with Venice and found the people and buildings he encounted along the back canals to be full of possibilities. The people he sketched, such as the woman and girl in the foreground of "The Beggars" are portrayed sympathetically, without resorting to stereotypes or cliches. The Glasgow catalogue raisonné identifies the passageway as the Sotoportego e Corte de le Carozze, near Camp Santa Margarita, Venice.
In this nighttime view down a street, buildings along the left-hand side of the street are shown in with sharp recession into space. A solitary figure is seen in the shadows on the left-hand side half way down the street. The sky is darkened with parallel horizontal hatching lines. The only source of light is a lantern on the wall of the right side of the street. Dark shadows fall across the buildings on the left side.
"Street at Saverne" is one of the "French Set" etchings that is based on a watercolor executed during the walking trip that Whistler and Ernest Delannoy made in the summer of 1858. Night views, known as "Nocturnes", became one of Whistler's signature forms and dominate his views along the Thames during the 1870s as well as views in Venice and Amsterdam in the 1880s. The watercolor on which this etching is based is, in fact, a daytime view of Saverne; when making the print Whistler transformed this into a night view, thus becoming his first nocturne.
Written in reverse, l.l.: 380 On verso, inscribed, u.c.: 37.812; On verso, stamped, c.: PHOTO E. Atget Collection Berenice Abbott 1 W. 87th St. On verso, inscribed, c.: cat #275 On verso, inscribed, c.l.: Un coin de la R. Reynie On verso, inscribed, l.c.: 45.79
A dark passageway through a building reveals a distant view of figures on both sides of a canal. In the foreground, the building is sketched in to show a vine growing up and over the passageway at the left, and an arched window at the right side; above the passage on the second floor two figures are seen silhouetted in an open window.
This composition shares the essentials of "The Traghetto No. 2", with its passageway, distant view, and figures at the front of the passage. The theme views framed with doorways dates back to the "French Set" and "The Limeburner" from the "Thames Set" and is central to Whistler's image making. Here the darkness and deep recession of the passage and silhouetted figure at the far end is contrasted with the flat, mural character of the foreground entrance, windows, and vine.